The fighting continues in Ivory Coast. Last week hundreds were slaughtered in the western city of Duekoue. Now there are reports that fighters are burning people alive.
Staying put… a man captured by Alassane Oattara’s troops pleads his innocence at a checkpoint outside Abidjan. (AP)
The stand off continued in Abidjan this week.
The Star reported:
As the military standoff dragged on in Abidjan, there were new concerns Friday about tensions erupting into deadly violence in the country’s west. The UN said more than 100 bodies have been found in the last 24 hours, and some of the victims had been burned alive.
“All the incidents appear at least partly ethnically motivated,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
The UN said peacekeepers and human rights officials discovered about 60 bodies in the western town of Guiglo. Rupert said another 40 corpses were found lying in the street in Blolequin, and many of them had been shot. Fifteen other bodies were found in Duekoue, where violence already has left at least 229 dead in recent weeks.
Colville, the UN human rights agency spokesman, said mercenaries from neighbouring Liberia appear to have committed some of the killings.
The US-backed Ouattara rebels were also blamed for the slaughter of hundreds of civilians last week.
Forces loyal to Ivory Coast President-elect Alassane Ouattara killed hundreds of civilians, burned at least 10 villages and summarily raped women from an ethnic group perceived to be loyal to ousted leader Laurent Gbagbo, according to Human Rights Watch.
“Fighters often targeted people by ethnicity, and the attacks disproportionately affected those too old or feeble to flee,” said a report e-mailed late yesterday by the New York- based group. “Dozens of women were also detained for a day or longer and repeatedly raped.”
The report of the killings, which occurred during a March offensive by the pro-Ouattara Republican Forces in the country’s west, come as his troops maintained a siege of Gbagbo’s residence in the Cocody section of Abidjan.
Gbagbo, who has disputed Ouattara’s internationally recognized victory in Nov. 28 presidential elections, has taken shelter in a bunker with his family and senior aides. His security forces have largely retreated or defected as rebels now known as the Republican Forces swept down from northern Ivory Coast to Abidjan.